Getting Rid of Clothes the Green Way

The last thing the green-living you wants to do with clothes you no longer wear is to toss them in the trash for a quick trip to the landfill! If they don’t yet look like rags, take them to a consignment clothing store. If the store accepts your items for resale, you get some of your money back along with the knowledge that your discarded clothing will go to a good home.

For select items of clothing, such as designer labels, kids clothing, or plus sizes, taking them to a specialty consignment store often gets you the best possible price.

If a consignment store won’t take your clothing, find a nonprofit or charitable organizations that will. Gently worn office wear for women, for example, may be welcome at an organization that helps victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet and into the workforce. Kids’ coats are often in demand in local clothing drives as cold weather approaches. Taking this targeted approach gives your clothes the best chance of being reused locally.

You also can donate clothing to a nonprofit or charity group that will resell or donate your clothes to those less fortunate. Drop-off points are often located in the parking lots of grocery stores and malls. The group sells or gives away what it can, but be aware that some items may end up being bought by private companies that give the designated charity a donation and then sell the clothes in developing countries.

Consider re-gifting clothing that you no longer want. Everyone’s received at least one sweater that they wouldn’t be seen in under any circumstances, but there may be someone you know who would like the items you don’t (really!). Give the item to someone who you genuinely believe will like or appreciate it. And while you’re at it, spare a thought for the person who gave you the gift in the first place; it’s best not to re-gift their sweater to a mutual friend or family member.

If you simply can’t use the item any longer and there’s no life left in it, repurpose it. Use it as a cooking apron, cleaning cloth, shoe polisher, or something similarly functional. Save any buttons, zippers, elastic, or trims for use in repairing other clothes. If you don’t need extra rags and such around the house, and if the material was organically produced and the fabric wasn’t dyed or treated with chemicals, it may be fodder for the compost pile, where it can recycle some nutrients back into the soil.

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